Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How Much is Your Time Worth?

Earlier this year, I wrote a post about manners.

I stated that they are still just as important today as they were when you were 6 years old and your Mother would whack you upside the head every time you didn't say "Please" and "Thank you".

I praised Chris Brogan (social media rock star) for being a great example of someone who uses manners to make a stellar impression. What can I say, I'm a Southern girl and where I grew up, proper manners are a sign of good breeding.


Today, I'd like to talk about who picks up the tab on a business meeting:

If you were an artist and created paintings for a living, you would expect me to pay you for a portrait.

If you owned a vineyard and made wine for a living, you would expect me to pay for a bottle of your vino.

If you were a designer and made beautiful clothing, you would expect me to pay for a blouse I wanted.

In case you are wondering where I am going with this line of thinking, let me elaborate...

I get asked several times a week to take a meeting. Usually, its a sales rep wanting to pitch me their product for one of my clients and they want my time to let them expound on why their magazine is so much better than all the other magazines out there. Or their event is so much more unique. Or their new mobile platform is so much more targeted.

Most of the time, I could figure this out myself if they would just e-mail me the information. I'm smart. I can read demographic statistics and decipher proposals. But, people want face-to-face meetings to try and work their Jedi magic on me. Little do they realize they are talking to Obi Wan Kenobi. I get why they want to meet in person. I also like to put a face with a name and make it personal. That's human nature. I'm all about keeping it human.

The other half of the time, I get requests from colleagues who want to "pick my brain" and are looking for guidance on a particular situation or want my gut-check on an offer or situation. Maybe they are considering jumping out of the corporate airplane and taking the entrepreneurial free fall and want to find out "How do you do what you do"?

So, I am always gobsmacked on these meetings when the person who initiated the get together never offers to buy me a cup of coffee or they don't pick up the tab and I have to buy my own lunch.

Because guess what... The product I sell to make a living is my intellectual property and I bill clients for my thoughts, guidance and opinions based on increments of time.

When you ask me to take an hour or more out of my day to meet with you for...whatever reason... the least you can do is ask me what I'd like at Starbucks and pay for my coffee.

Seriously.  You should at least offer. It's not about the money, it's just a sign of respect.

The Mistress of Manners, Miss Emily Post says, "The person who did the asking does the paying." And if you don't think my time is worth $4.38 for a Triple Grande, Non-Fat, No Foam, 2 Splenda Latte... then I'm a little confused as to why you even called me in the first place.